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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Want Ads for Lost Relatives 1865-67

Of my sons, George, William, and Bearty Lewis. George was born in 1848; Bearty was born in 1853, in Culpepper county, Va. In 1858, they went the Eastern Shore of Virginia with Mrs. Nottingham. In 1860, they went to Petersburg, Va. In 1855, I came to Tennessee with Mrs. Hemps, and now reside in Williamson county, Tenn.

Of my two sonss, Sidney and Harrison who belonged to Clem. Carmen, who formerly lived in Shelbyville, Bedford county Tenn. And were sold to Goodbar, a trader, and when last heard from were in Montgomery, Ala. The oldest son is about 25 years of age. My name is Sidney. When they left I belonged to a man named Elliott. Information of them will be thankfully received by myself and their mother, whose name is Eliza Cannon. Please address Colored Tennessean, Box 1150.

Of my son, William Howard, who formerly lived in Kingston Ga. When last heard from was Chattanooga, but is supposed to have started for Nashville. He is 19 years of age, with yellow complexion. I am at present living at col. Stanely's Chattanooga, Tenn., where I can be addressed, or the Colored Tennessean.

The Colored Tennessean, WANT ADS, (Aug. 12, Oct. 7, 14, 1865; Mar. 24, 31, 1866). Courtesty of Library of Congress.

Creator African Americans looking for family
Context Freedom brought the hope that separated family members might be reunited.
Audience The African American community
Purpose To find family members

Historical Significance

One of the cruelest aspects of slavery was the practice of separating family members from each other. Thousands of former slaves took to the roads during and after the Civil War to search for spouses, parents, children, and other relatives whom they had not seen for many years. Others used advertisements to try to locate these people. Although created during Reconstruction, these primary sources also provide information about the nature of slavery.


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